Stories of Hope Amidst the Coronavirus Pandemic
In 2018, a review of studies about the effects of stress revealed something interesting. It found that a constant flow of negative news causing stress can damage your health.
Susanne Babbel is a psychotherapist specializing in trauma recovery. She says, "Every time we experience or hear about a traumatic event, we go into stress mode. Over time, our adrenal glands can become fatigued.
"One way of coping with this continual exposure is not getting overloaded with the news. And pacing yourself with your consumption."
She says to be careful for when you feel overloaded. "Whenever you feel like you are 'off,' that is... your signal that you need to stop."
Too Much Bad News Bad for Health
I can't remember a time when we were hammered with bad news like we are these days. It's impossible to turn on a TV, radio or computer without seeing or hearing horror stories. All about the spread of COVID-19.
Limiting the time each day we spend focused on this global emergency is one step in the right direction for staying healthy.
Another is filling our minds with positive thoughts. This could be in the form of books, movies, music or hobbies.
Today, I want to try to help with some feel-good stories. They're all connected to how people are coping with the coronavirus crisis.
Shopping Angels Fill Big Need
Have you ever heard of a "shopping angel?" I hadn't either until recently. Thanks to Jayde Powell, perhaps the phrase will become common.
This honor student at the University of Nevada-Reno learned her mother was calling elderly neighbors. To see if they had needs.
It sparked an idea. Powell decided to create a group of volunteers to shop for the elderly. So they wouldn't have to risk being out in public.
She got 20 of her fellow Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity members to join the effort. Then she reached out on social media to recruit more. That helped "Shopping Angels" go national.
Growth Is Astonishing
"As a pre-med student, I know that people who are older or people who have heart, lung or immune conditions are especially at risk for contracting the virus," Powell told CNN.
She said the initiative's growth has astonished her. "I woke up this morning to 20 voicemails and 56 emails," she said.
"And I've got people in Connecticut, Long Island, Sacramento, Los Angeles, Phoenix... that want to volunteer."
Some elderly folks give the volunteers money and a shopping list. Others buy their groceries online and a volunteer picks them up and delivers them.
Money Is No Object
To carry this one step farther, Powell established a GoFundMe account to help the elderly who can't afford groceries.
"We don't want funds to be a deterrent," Powell said. "If you cannot get toilet paper or something like that, you're still to reach out to us."
Las Vegas-based Anderson Dairy is donating milk to those in need through the Shopping Angels program.
Why is Powell spending her time this way? "We're doing this to try and reach out to people who might feel that they are just completely alone in this situation."
Centenarians Can't Have Visitors, So...
One of the places off-limits to friends and family members of the elderly in nursing homes.
If a nursing home resident is infected with the virus, the chances of survival are not promising.
Families are using other ways to communicate with loved ones in these homes. Including phone calls, emails, social media messages and video chats.
But there's nothing like being there. So, some have figured out the next best thing to being by their loved one's side.
Family Sings 'Happy Birthday' Outside Window
Earlier this month, a Massachusetts family gathered outside the window of their 100-year-old loved one's nursing home room.
There they sang "Happy Birthday" to Millie Erickson. She is in quarantine at Sterling Village.
"It was really nice that they let us do that," Millie's son, Gary Erickson, told a Boston TV station.
"She doesn't usually cry, but she did. She's just thrilled to see everybody and she's lived a good, long life."
Millie also responded with smiles, waves and a sign reading, "Today is my 100th Birthday!!"
Churches Make Creative Adjustments
Among the organizations adjusting to the new climate are churches. Many are offering online services.
Some are offering drive-in services, using a jumbotron. As well as drive-through prayers with pastors.
One of these churches is OpenDoor Church in Burleson, Texas. People drive up to the church on Wednesday evenings and at three designated times on Sundays.
Church leaders are available for prayer and encouragement while people sit in their cars.
Making a Difference
At that same church, cards are handed out to people dealing with anxiety and other problems. The cards contain scripture verses.
Troy Brewer is the senior pastor of this 5,000-member church. Here's what he says about the strategy.
"If the body of Christ doesn't bring peace, unity and the power of the Lord, I don't think anyone else is coming.
"This is a great chance for us to stand up and reach out to our own communities. And make a tremendous difference."
It's going to be impossible to escape all the bad news that will continue to come our way for the foreseeable future. But allowing room for good news will help lift our spirits during trying times.